BOSTON (CBS) – Passengers at Logan Airport are hoping an FCC plan to allow in flight cell phone calls gets grounded.
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to start the process of removing the ban on cell phone calls during flights.
FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler says technical advances mean cell phones no longer interfere with a plane’s operations. Because of that, he argues there’s no logical reason to restrict them.
“I’m the last person in the world who wants to listen to somebody talking to me while I fly across the country. But we are the technical agency and we will make the technical rules that reflect the way the new technology works,” he told the FCC committee.
The idea of allowing mid air chatting has little support among the general public. Recent polls show about 59 percent of Americans oppose lifting the ban.
“I would hate it,” said Samir Arora who was picking up his bag from Logan Airport. “I travel a lot I would hate to have someone next to me yapping on the phone.”
“I think it’s a really poor idea, especially if you’re sitting in a center seat and you have people talking on both sides,” said Mary Ceridon.
Others said they may not like the phone calls, but texting while flying would be a welcome change.
It’s not texting, but voice calls that concerns the U.S. Department of Transportation. “We believe USDOT’s role…is to determine if allowing these calls is fair to consumers. USDOT will now begin a process that will look at the possibility of banning these in-flight calls,” Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
Some travelers say they would welcome the option to take a call in flight, but only if passengers used common courtesy.
“I would hope so that people would be able to think about other people around them and be able to keep their conversations quiet and short hopefully,” Meg Davis said.
No matter what the FCC or the USDOT decide, the final say on cell phone calls could rest not with the government, but with the airlines.
Several plan to study the issue and listen to feedback before allowing passengers to talk on the phone.
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